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A Deputy Minister for Transport, Alhassan Sulemana Tampuli, has disclosed that a Committee has been constituted under the Economic Management Team, to make recommendations on how to reduce the cost of doing business at the ports.

Mr. Tampuli disclosed this when delivering a speech at the third Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Customs Housing Agents Ghana (ACHAG), on the theme “Doing business at the port in the face of current economic challenges.

He said that this demonstrated the commitment of the government to creating an enabling environment for port businesses to thrive as well as solidifying its reputation as a listening government, having listened to the concerns of various stakeholders in the ports’ value chain.

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He said issues such as the high cost of administrative fees charged by shipping lines and other charges would be investigated to see if it was justifiable for them to charge such high fees.

He said, for instance, that an amount of US$5000 was being charged by shipping lines on each container they carried, indicating that if the amount is multiplied by the 1.2 million containers handled at the ports in 2023, it would translate to about US$550 million that was paid to the shipping lines from Ghana last year.

He gave the assurance that the committee would be holding a meeting with stakeholders to go through the charges one by one to enable them to reach a destination that would benefit all.

“I wish to also once again assure you and the business community, particularly stakeholders in the ports, shipping, and transport logistics value chain, that the government is committed to creating the conducive environment needed for their businesses to grow,” he said.

The deputy minister noted that the maritime sector, especially Ghana’s seaports, were the main gateways for international trade, accounting for over 90 percent of Ghana’s international trade with overwhelming effect and potential for boosting gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

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He indicated that it was therefore imperative that Ghana strive to drive improvements within the ports to reduce transaction costs, facilitate trade, and position the ports as a hub for the West African sub-region, particularly within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He added that it was for these reasons and others that the government was investing in port infrastructure to facilitate the industrialization of the country, as the ports were an integral link within the maritime supply value chain.

Mr. Tampuli noted that the massive infrastructural investments at Meridian Ports and Services (MPS) Terminal 3, coupled with other soft interventions by the government such as the paperless ports system introduced in 2017 and the Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS), were not only intended to modernise the ports and increase efficiency but also to enhance competitiveness, improve shipping services, and facilitate the diversification and growth of port traffic.

“These interventions, with the support of stakeholders, have harmonised and improved the port clearance system by ensuring a seamless, convenient, and quick turnaround time in the port clearance processes. The ICUMS system, for instance, has led to reduced shipping costs for shippers through the elimination of delays within the cargo clearance chain,” he stated.

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